Orel Hershiser, an analyst on “Sunday Night Baseball,” contended that “it’s easier to bring the stat to the broadcast if it’s a formula that everybody understands.”
“All of us on this call listening to my voice right now, nobody can tell me the formula for WAR,” Hershiser said. “We know what it stands for, wins above replacement, but how do you come up with a number? I think people know what an RBI is, know what a home run is, know what a walk is. Those are easy to explain. People have a huge reference point.”
By that standard, no one in a National Football League telecast should bring up quarterback rating, because no one can give you the formula for it, either. Yet NFL broadcasts routinely reference quarterback rating.
“It’s baseball and it’s an eyes test,” Hershiser said. “(Giants manager) Bruce Bochy and (Giants general manager) Brian Sabean won two out of the last three World Series. I don’t know if you can name me the WAR of any guy on their whole club. Buster Posey probably has the best one, Matt Cain, maybe Pablo Sandoval. I know those three guys are probably the core of their team.”
...Shulman said in a conference call with reporters earlier this week that he sees the value of “the new-age analytics,” as he called them, but he’s not going to hand over his call to them in part because he does not think many viewers are into those numbers.
“I think the vast majority of our audience, I bet for everybody on a Monday morning who said, ‘Do you know what Mike Trout’s WAR (wins above replacement) is?’ I bet there are 10 people who say, ‘Did you see he hit his 30th home run?’ or stole his 49th base or whatever.
“If you go back 15 years nobody was even talking about on-base percentage, that came in and then, of course, OPS came in. OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) I think is fairly common now. So things are moving. They’re just not maybe moving that the sabermetricians would like.”